The Argentine striker replaces the injured Karim Benzema while Lassana Diarra is a surprise inclusion in midfield, starting in place of Sami Khedira.
A surprise inclusion in the starting lineup is Lassana Diarra replacing Sami Khedira in the center of the field, while Kaka continues in an attacking role alongside Cristiano Ronaldo and Mesut Ozil.
There is no place in the side for Rafael Varane and with Ricardo Carvalho suffering from a back injury, Raul Albiol partners Sergio Ramos in the heart of defense with Alvaro Arbeloa and Marcelo playing at fullback.
Pepe, Fabio Coentrao and Nuri Sahin all all still struggling with injuries and are not in the squad as Madrid look to pick up its first away win in the league since the opening day 6-0 demolition of Zaragoza.
Espanyol (4-1-4-1): Alvaraez; Javi Lopez, Moreno, Forlin, Didac Vila; Raul Baena; Romaric, Javi Marquez, Thievy, Verdu; Sergio Garcia
Subs: Casilla, Galan, Weiss, Rui Fonte, Datolo, Alfonso, Raul Rodriguez
Real Madrid (4-2-3-1): Casillas; Arbeloa, Ramos, Albiol, Marcelo; Xabi Alonso, Diarra; Ozil, Kaka, Ronaldo; Higuain
Subs: Adan, Varane, Khedira, Granero, Altintop, Callejon, Joselu